Good Fruit Grower

May 1

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26 MAY 1, 2015 Good Fruit Grower WORKERS ARRIVE Late May WORKERS RETURN HOME Late October and beyond WORKERS RETURN HOME SEQUENTIAL Workers are hired under different contracts with unrelated employers. When one contract ends, they move to the next instead of going home. CONTRACT #3 APPLE HARVEST CONTRACT #3 CONTRACT #2 CORN DETASSELING CONTRACT #2 CONTRACT #1 CHERRY HARVEST Late May CONTRACT #1 MEXICO WORKERS ARRIVE Early August WORKERS ARRIVE Early August ORCHARD #1 ORCHARD #2 ORCHARD #3 ORCHARD #3 ORCHARD #1 ORCHARD #2 ORCHARD #2 ORCHARD #2 ORCHARD #2 WORKERS RETURN HOME Early November WORKERS RETURN HOME PACKING HOUSE WORKER HOUSING Workers go out to orchards that need workers that day. Early August PACKING WORKERS RETURN HOME Early November Shared H-2A contracts SHARED PACKING HOUSE Allows employers from non-related farms to bring in workers on the same contract and save on application costs. Employers must have one common crop and the same period of need. Similar to shared contract, but workers stay at housing provided by the packing house, which acts as a liaison for sharing workers with different growers. ORCHARD #3 APPLE HARVEST Early August to early November ORCHARD #2 APPLE HARVEST Early August to early November ORCHARD #1 APPLE HARVEST Early August to early November WORKERS RETURN HOME There are several ways for growers to share H-2A workers. SOURCE: WAFLA Although renting beds worked well last season, the housing was too far from his orchards. He had two 14-passenger vans to transport workers between the housing unit and the orchards—a journey of 45 minutes to 1 hour—at the start and end of each day. This meant that one of his experienced workers ended up being a bus driver for an extra two hours a day, which was particu- larly diffi cult during harvest. "It's a lot of extra burden and cost," Godwin said. The workers would rather be closer to where they're working, he said, and on-farm housing will reduce his costs for van drivers and fuel. He thinks that, in the long term, the cost of building will be almost the same as for renting. However, the grower still must transport workers to places they need to go, such as the bank, grocery store, or church. "While they're here, they're yours," Godwin said. "Anywhere they want to go, we'll try to work with them. We bus them around a lot. They'll work hard for you if you treat them right." Training During the first season in the H-2A program, the grower should count on spending a lot of time training workers and identifying which workers they would like to return the following year, Godwin said. "The H-2A guys are happy to be there. The majority of people want to be there and want to work and do it well," he said. "But a lot of them don't have a lot of experience, even though they say they do. There's far more training that has to happen initially. Plan on spending more time explaining what you want. We hope, as we continue with the program, we get the same people back who have been trained." Godwin said growers should make sure the H-2A contract correctly spells out the jobs the workers will be required to do—whether it's summer pruning, mowing, or building trellises—because the workers know what the contract says and there are different wage rates for different jobs. "It makes a big difference for administering it all season long, and it's much easier for you if you have a contract that fi ts what you're planning to do on your farm and how you're planning on rotating your people," he said. Stennes expects it to be a three- to fi ve-year "We hope, as we continue with the program, we get the same people back who have been trained." —Sam Godwin ONLINE For more information, check the website at wa� process to weed out the less productive workers and get the core group of workers that the grower is looking for. Both years that Stennes employed guest workers, there were unforeseen circumstances that WAFLA was able to help out with. "WAFLA and other agencies are just a call away," he said. "We're learning the program as we go. With a third-party group to help, it's very doable." • TJ MULLINAX/GOOD FRUIT GROWER Jose Olmeda, a guest worker from Mexico, arrives at worker housing in Royal City. The facility has free wifi connections, satellite television, and video games.

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